Sunday, June 19, 2011


When 1,500 mall shoppers were asked what they wished for most when they blow out their birthday candles, men and women gave vastly different answers. The number one wish of women was "more time with spouse." Among men that wish came in at 27th on the list. What did the guys wish for most often? “A lower golf score." And this is the gender that God has given the responsibility of spiritual headship? What was God thinking? Isn't it true that most of the time it is the woman who would do a better job fulfilling this role? And most men would be happy to abdicate the responsibility. There are a lot of others things he'd rather be doing on a Sunday morning, like lowering his golf score. And yet God has chosen the male gender to be the servant leader of his home precisely because fulfilling this role is more necessary for his soul than it is for hers. "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior" (Ephesians 5:23).

In Fatherless America, Blankenhorn notes, “Never before in the USA have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their fathers. Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation.” Many children are growing up without knowing what it means to have a father. I understand that under certain circumstances some children are being raised by single moms but it is never the ideal situation. One anonymous quote reads, “The greatest gift I ever had Came from God; I call him Dad”! Any one can father a child but it takes a committed person to become a Dad. Are you a father to your children or a Dad? Can you become the best dad possible? What does it take to be the best Dad? It takes intentionally modeling after God our heavenly father. In three key areas we need right modeling: 1. Unconditional love. 2 Honesty 3. Sexual purity. The first area of modeling is Unconditional Love.


I grew up in a home where I never heard my father telling me “I love you”. Though he showed in many ways that he loved me, I often felt that his affirmation of me was always conditional and based on my performance. I became a performer in order to receive my fathers love. That unhealthy pattern has hindered me for a long time from receiving my heavenly fathers love. Unfortunately many adults have become approval addicts. We tend to think unless I do something I am not liked and approved by God but the truth of the matter is that God loves you no matter what. You don’t have to prove anything to God.

The best illustration of God’s unconditional love is found in the book of Hosea. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute, not only that he was to take her back again after she ran away with other lovers. Hosea 3:1 The LORD said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes." That’s truly unconditional love!

Unconditional love doesn’t mean enabling our children by giving them everything they want. It is not always catering to our children’s whims and wishes. It is not always cheering them to excel, though threre is place for all that. Loving our children unconditionally means loving them when they miserably fail our expectations and mess their lives up. It means accepting them with arms wide open when they return to us. It means being there for your children at all times, both in good especially during bad times. That is what God does for us, no matter what happens to us, Romans 8:39 tells us that “nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The second area of modeling is honesty.


Chuck Colson, in an article for Moody Magazine, discussed the ugliest of sins of all—not those displayed for the world to see, but those which are hidden in the heart of man. He writes, “ As a result of having been at the center of the biggest political upheaval of this century, I am often asked which of my Watergate deeds causes me the greatest remorse. My invariable reply is, ‘None. My deepest remorse is for the hidden sins of my heart, which are far worse.”[1]

One of the tragedies of our times is that we have seen many politicians, government servants, businessmen, sports stars, and some spiritual leaders who appeared to be honest and genuine while all along cheating their loved ones and others who have trusted them. These mostly are men who became victims of their secret sins, and when they were exposed who hurt the most? It was their spouses and children. When it comes to think of it many men and women lack honesty in their personal lives yet they may put up a great facade. They cover up sin until it is exposed.

How about the way we do our business? A rancher asked a veterinarian for some free advice. "I have a horse," he said, "that walks normally sometimes and limps sometimes. What shall I do "The veterinarian replied, "The next time he walks normally, sell him. What is honesty? And how can we cultivate honesty in our lives? Honest means, the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness; truthfulness; sincerity, or frankness; freedom from deceit or fraud.”

We cultivate honesty by learning to tell the truth even when it hurts. Don’t lie to your children and don’t encourage them to lie, let your yes be yes and let your no be no. When you make a promise, keep it. In Proverbs 12: 17-22, we read, “Truth lasts; lies are here today, gone tomorrow… God can’t stomach liars; he loves the company of those who keep their word” (The Message) you can be an honest dad, by modeling after your heavenly father who is righteous and delights in those who are honest. The Third area of Modeling is Sexual Purity.


“I still believed sex was like Oxygen and that I could not survive without it” said Darrell Brazell who struggled with sexual addiction for many years which nearly destroyed his ministry and family. Sex is a wonderful gift of God and it is satisfying and fulfilling when it is practiced in the loving, logical limits of marriage. Within those safe confinements God approves of us experimenting and enjoying this precious gift. Any thing before, and outside of marriage is condemned by God.

In an over sexed society and a world of multibillion dollars Porn industry it is a great challenge for men and women and young people in particular to maintain sexual purity. We are constantly bombarded by exotic images in movies, magazines, and on TV. “Our young people have developed their concept of sexuality based upon this media fiction without realizing the price tag that comes with free love and casual sex. A young lady tells of that price, what the movies and the soap operas don’t tell us about is the devastation and the broken hearts that occur due to affairs and premarital sex… Without a doubt, the hardest and most painful thing I’ve gone through…more than major surgery, tests for cancer, a broken family, and numerous job rejections… is getting over a sexual relationship with a married man.”[2]

It is heart breaking to hear stories of this nature. None of us parents wish this kind of devastation our children. God wants to spare men, women and young people from the heart ache caused by uncontrolled, unprotected, and wrong forms of sexual encounters. He gave several warnings in His word for our advantage. Throughout scripture God warns against sexual impurity (that is any sexual activity outside of marriage) Abstain from Sexual immorality (Acts 15:29). Flee from sexual immorality ( I Cor 6:18), We should not commit Sexual immorality ( I Cor 10:8) But among you there must be even a hint of sexual immorality.. because these are improper for God’s holy people. (Eph 5:3).

How can mums and dads help protect their young ones from the hands of the evil one? I want to give you some straight forward and honest suggestions. You may not like to hear them but in the end if you follow these steps you can be free from sexual addictions. Firstly if you are addicted to pornography or any form of sexual addiction you need help from God and a trusted Christian counselor to begin that healing and restoration process, confess your sin, repent and ask God’s forgiveness. Secondly, especially men if you are struggling with lust make a covenant with your eyes; this is the biggest battle to win for men. In every man’s battle Arterburn notes, “You can win this battle by training your eyes to “bounce” away from the sights of pretty women and sensual images immediately. If you “bounce your eyes” for six weeks you can win this war.”[3] Thirdly, get your house ready; by cleaning up X rated, movies, magazines, DVD’s, Pictures and video games, don’t donate them to a Yard Sale, burn them or throw them in the trash. Finally, try to walk in the light, by being accountable to a trusted friend. A caution though while choosing an accountability partner, look for some one who is not having the same problem you are having otherwise instead of helping each other you end up enabling each other.

In closing; fathers and mothers are given an awesome responsibility to train, and raise children in the ways of God. Let’s not abdicate that responsibility. You can be the best dad you possibly can for your children. The road to becoming the best dad starts today. It starts with making a decision to be the best dad and by intentionally modeling uncondional love, honesty and sexual purity. The best way to keep our children from doing wrong things is not by prohibiting them but by living exemplary lives. Because what they see in us is what they imitate. May the Lord help us to be the right models for our children. Amen

[1] Chuck Colson "The Ugliest Sin of All," MOODY MAGAZINE, January, 1985, pp.21-23

[2] Josh McDowell, The Father Connection, Page 43

[3] Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker, “Every man’s battle, page 125

Sunday, June 12, 2011


If I were to ask you whether your heart was ever broken I am sure many hands would go up. We are human beings therefore we are prone to get hurt sometimes so badly especially by those whom we trust and love. My heart was broken twice in the past. Our heart is the most fragile and precious commodity that we possess, both at a physical level and spiritual level. We know that any damage to the heart signifies the end of life, but with early diagnosis and timely intervention we can help prevent or even cure a physical heart. How about the unseen heart? Last week we learned that the scripture attributed to the heart: thoughts, reasoning’s, understanding, will, judgment, affections, and emotions. How can we deal with its brokenness? This is called clinically Stress Cardiomyopathy, theologically Shattered heart and colloquially “A Broken heart”. In one sense this is much harder to deal with because the pain of a broken heart can remain for the rest of our lives unless it is properly healed.

Psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and counselors including pastors grapple with the dilemma of helping the brokenhearted. Some churches ignore this crucial subject yet the bible deals with it so emphatically and empathetically. As a pastor I can not ignore the fact that some of us hurt and some badly hurt in the congregation, therefore I would like to discuss what causes our hearts to break, how we can regain the broken trust, and God’s remedy for a broken heart.


There could be a number of reasons why some one’s heart breaks. Some reasons could be betrayal of trust, loss of dreams, loosing a loved one, failure of expectations, abuse in a relationship, slander etc. Let me begin with perhaps the biggest cause for a broken heart, the betrayal of trust. It is when a person whom you have trusted the most betrays your confidence.

We read in Proverbs 25:9 “Do not betray another man’s confidence” obviously when this does happen it is devastating.. If you feel the pain of betrayal by people take heart, you are not alone, there have been many who have gone through or are going through the same experience. Here are a few biblical examples of those who experienced betrayal.

Joseph shared his dreams to his brothers and father. Instead of rejoicing with him they held grudge against him and eventually sold him as a slave. Later on Joseph was put in a prison for no reason and forgotten by every one for two whole years. Samson’s wife gave away the answer for the riddle fearing for her life and her family. Later on Delilah the woman he loved, enticed Samson and gave away the secret of his mighty strength to his enemies for 1100 pieces of silver. The result was humiliation, blindness and eventually the loss of his life.

Our Lord Jesus loved and ministered to the crowds but shared his personal lives with twelve close confidants. One of them was Judas Iscariot who for a bit of money betrayed his master to those who wanted to kill him. All these characters knew the pain of betrayal.

Betrayal of trust happens at all levels, but who can understand the agony and the pain of a wife or a husband who is abused or cheated by their spouse, a child molested by her own father, a high school student bullied by fellow school mates, an employee oppressed by an abusive boss, a young lover whose heart is crushed due to a broken relationship, a disillusioned congregation, due to a sex scandal of its pastor or some one in the leadership. All these incidents and many more can betray our trust and break our hearts. Betrayal is real, and very painful. The longer these hurts remain unhealed the longer the pain remains. When people break our trust we tend to think that God is also like men that can not be trusted. When a person’s trust is broken can it be ever regained? Can they enter into trusted and meaningful relationships again?


An unknown author said, “Trust is a fragile thing. Once earned, it affords us tremendous freedom. But once trust is lost, it can be impossible to recover. Of course the truth is, we never know who we can trust. Those we’re closest to can betray us, and total strangers can come to our rescue. In the end, most people decide to trust only themselves. It really is the simplest way to keep from getting burned. It is true that when a person’s trust is broken it takes a long time if not forever before he could trust any one again but it is not entirely impossible. In the same way if one or a few persons betray your trust, doesn’t mean that you can not trust any one.

Whether or not you can ever trust people ever again, you can always trust God because he never makes a mistake moreover he never betrays his faithfulness. God said to Solomon, 2 Samuel 7: 13-15“I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.” He goes on to say in Psalm 89: 33, but I will not take my love from him nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.” In the same way whenever we disobey him he may punish us but never withholds his love from us.

Most often when a person experiences emotional hurt the first thing that goes through their mind, where is God and if He is there why doesn’t He care? He seems a million miles faraway from the situation. Because of the fall of men we are quick to misunderstand God and quick to blame. The truth of the matter is that God hasn’t gone anywhere, neither can we go to a place where He doesn’t exist. The Psalmist in Psalm 139 understood both the complexities of men and the Omnipresence of God. “Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there, If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon you would find me in a minute, you’re already there waiting!” I don’t know why for some unknown reasons we don’t feel God’s presence when we so badly need him but it doesn’t mean that He is not near us. The scriptures make it clear that he never leaves nor abandons us. The one who watches over us neither sleeps nor slumbers. Even more so when we are bruised and hurting he is always near us to heal and make us whole again. Let’s look at God’s heart towards the brokenhearted.


Some Christians are taught to believe that if you are a Christian everything should go well for you. You should never get ill, never be abused, never fail, always should be on top not on the bottom and so on. If something goes wrong their reasoning is that either you have sin in your life, not enough faith or the devil is attacking you. But the truth of the matter is life and faith doesn't always fit these neat little boxes. Can we agree that the meaning of suffering is largely a mystery to us and yet that we believe in a God of redemption who is far greater than our reasoning and our need to explain it all? God didn’t promise that the righteous will never suffer hardship and troubles, but he promised is special nearness and tenderness when we are hurting. Psalm 34:15-19 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” Therefore when some thing goes wrong let’ stop blaming ourselves, others and God, instead let’s recognize his ever abiding presence even in the midst of trouble and pain. The following popular poem explains his ever abiding presence though at times unseen.

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
"I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
you should leave me."

The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
"When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

This poignant poem explains the heart of God towards a troubled and battered soul on the road of life’s journey. Are you like the person in the poem, battered, bruised and unable to stand up under the load of guilt and pain? Are you wondering is there any one who can truly understand and care for you? Let me introduce you to the healer of the brokenhearted. Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” His is Jehovah Rapha; God who heals. One of the functions of the prophesied messiah by the prophet Isaiah was, “to bind up the broken hearted (Isaiah 61:1) The Hebrew word for “bind” literally means, “to bind on, to wrap around, to bind up(a wound), to bandage, and to envelop, to enclose ” God is able to put a healing bandage on your bruised emotions, to wrap his presence around you. to envelop you with his love and to enclose you in a community where you will continue to receive his forgiveness, acceptance and see your healing completed.. You are safe in God’s loving arms.

No matter, how badly your heart is broken today you can come to Jesus who knows what exactly what you have gone through and what you are going through. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.. carried our sorrows, he was pierced for our transgressions,. and by his wounds you can receive healing to your broken heart. Next time we will look into how we can practically receive healing for our broken hearts. Amen.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


In ancient Celtic mythology there was a belief that there are certain places, called thin places, where the world of the seen and the world of the unseen came into closest proximity. In each of the beatitudes, Jesus points us to a kind of thin place, a place on earth where we draw closer to heaven. Surprisingly, these are lowly, humble places, each one of them repulsive in some way to the ego of man. Not one of them is a place that you or I would seek to visit in our search for a happy and meaningful life. But Jesus proposes that the treasures of the Kingdom of God are found in just such lowly places. So, if we are to discover the blessed life, we must look for it in these lowly places. In want instead of plenty, in weakness rather than in strength, where we are lacking instead of where we feel adequate, so where do we begin?

The lowly place to begin with is our heart, because that is the place where our true person or inner man resides. God wants to change us from the inside out. Jesus often talked about the heart in his preaching, one of the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount is about the blessedness of a pure heart. Matt 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” In other words “True blessings will flow from the inside out. Why did Jesus place so much emphasis on the heart? What does it mean to be pure in heart? What is the meaning of the word blessed? If the purity of heart is required to see God then how are we to purify our hearts? Let’s begin by talking about why our heart matters most.


We live in a high performance and achievement world. What matters for most is to get to the top regardless how you get there. We bought into a lie of thinking that being hugely famous, popular and successful is everything in life. In the rush of climbing to the top many compromise moral laws placed by God such as, honesty, integrity, loyalty, moral purity, and the fear of God, The latest John Edward’s scandal brought to the fore the deceptive idea that, “as long as I don’t break the law publicly who cares about what goes on in my personal life? Well God cares more about our personal purity and integrity than our public performance. God never was, is and will be impressed by what the world calls the most successful or influential people (like Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people) instead He dwells in a heart that is contrite and broken before Him.

During Jesus’ time the Pharisees were the people at the top. They looked good on the outside like the white washed tombs but were rotten on the inside, looked gentle on the outside like sheep but were ravenous wolves on the inside. Jesus was not impressed by their outward appearance or behavior. In the same way we too are good in keeping up appearances, but we can’t fool God, he sees us through and through. The scripture says God does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance or performance but the Lord looks at the heart. Keeping that as a background let’s look at the sixth beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8 let me break this into three parts: 1.The state of Blessedness 2. The Purity of Heart. 3. Seeing God.


All the nine beatitudes promise a state of blessedness followed by certain conditions. If we are to pick and choose one among the beatitudes, probably for most people it would be this sixth beatitude. It seems the most appealing but at the same time the most unattainable one. We hardly know which is more beyond us, is it the condition or the promise, the purity of heart or seeing God? But in reality both are attainable with God’s help and a little bit of discipline.

The word “blessed” occurs over 230 times in the bible. It is often referred to God bestowing special favor upon his people, specially the righteous one. In Greek the word blessed means to be characterized by the quality of God, blessedness is when one is indwelt by God, and God’s nature is in him, he has the kingdom of God within him(Lk 17:21). It means fully satisfied. This satisfaction however is not due to the circumstances of life nor the fulfillment of the conditions prescribed in these beatitudes.

In some translations we read “happy” instead of “blessed” which is a poor translation because happiness is connected with luck, or what happens to us where as the blessedness that the Bible describes doesn’t necessarily depend on material things or what happens to us. It is that basic condition created by Christ’s indwelling in man’s heart which brings a fundamental satisfaction in the life of a believer. You can be happy without Christ but you can’t be blessed without God. I would rather have Christ living in me than to have all the riches or being popular in the world. We can only achieve the state of this blessedness by having a pure heart


For a modern mind words like holiness or purity are considered as ancient words. At times it seems hard to fit in when you try to live a clean life, it is not cool. But if you are proud, rude and inconsiderate you are considered strong and macho. You may have been ridiculed by people when you tried to do the right thing, for example declining a cigarette or a drink at a party or refusing to be promiscuous. People may reject or scorn you for your high morals, but that is the only way we can ever please God. The Bible says, without Holiness no one shall see God.

In most cases in the Bible the heart refers to the inner man. The scripture attributed to the heart: thoughts, reasoning’s, understanding, will, judgment, affections, and emotions (love, hatred, fear, joy, sorrow, anger). What does it mean being pure in heart? In Greek the literal meaning for pure is clean. It is used figuratively, ceremonially and morally In Matt 23: 25-26 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and self indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

Why is it so important to get our hearts cleaned up? Because it is in the heart everything first begins. If we harbor bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in our heart towards people; it will show up some how or the other either in our words or our actions. Matthew 15:18-19, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart and these make a man, unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” When Jesus said blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God he meant that we will work on developing clean thoughts, pure emotions and we want to do his will rather than wanting to do our will. We honor him with our words, thoughts and deeds. When we do that the ultimate blessing is that we will see God. What is meant by seeing God?


The desire to see God has been the age long goal of prophets, philosophers and saints but this beatitude promises more than mere vision. Perhaps our deepest wish, if we could analyze our longing is to see God. When Christ said that the pure in heart shall see God, he more likely meant that the pure in heart see God in the world about them, when others are blind; that the pure in heart are aware of the movements of the divine will in their lives even in the midst of pain, when others are rebellious or despairing; that the pure in heart have by intuition the leading of God’s spirit when others miss it. In other words the pure in heart will see God in all things.

Seeing God is not only limited to this present world, but there will come a day the pure in heart will literally see God face to face when Christ returns. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Rev 22:2). The blessedness of having God’s presence with us is a direct result of having a clean heart, how are we then to acquire and maintain a pure heart?

Purity of heart is not achieved by a one time resolution or a prayer but it is a life long process. We can begin that process today by confessing our sins and continually guarding our hearts according to the scriptures. We confess the big things but tend to neglect the small stuff such as twisting the truth to our convenience, lying, controlling, exaggerating, manipulating, jealousy, lust, envy, and anger the list goes on. However innocent they may look in the beginning in the end they have the potential to ruin our personal testimony and our families if they are left unchecked. In Song of songs 2:15 we read “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Here the vineyard is our heart. When our hearts are right with God we will experience Joy and peace with Him and with one another. My prayer is that the Lord would transform us from the inside out so that we not only experience His blessedness but also become a blessing to many. Amen